Last Modified

June 6, 2022 by Umair Shahid

A state in the Western United States, California, is famous for strict laws in terms of pet ownership. The laws in the US strictly prohibit owning pets that are endangered species. The laws in California vary for ownership of rodents as pets.

The laws in California allow many rodents like hamsters and guinea pigs as pets. However, are chinchillas illegal in California? No, chinchillas are not illegal pets in California. You can keep the chinchillas in your house as pets.

Are chinchillas illegal in California?

Which animals are illegal to own in California?

There are mainly the animals that are endangered in the wild or have a high killing rate because of their commercialization. The Short-tailed chinchillas are highly commercialized for their furs. Therefore, they are difficult to find in common pet shops. But they are not illegal to keep as pets in California.

There is a long list of animals that are restricted as pets in California. However, some common animals include hedgehogs, ferrets, axolotls, sugar gliders, and skylarks. In the rodents family, the restricted animals are hamsters, Field Mice, voles, Muskrats, Gerbils, Squirrels, Chipmunks, Woodchucks, and Prairie dogs.

Why does California have strict animal ownership laws?

California has strict laws for pet ownership. The California Animal law does not allow keeping every wild animal as a pet. There are many agreeable reasons for these rules. One of the main reasons for implementing these laws is to prevent the spread of zoonotic disease.

Zoonotic diseases are those having potential transmission from animals to humans. Wild animals are carriers of many zoonotic diseases. Wild animals can easily transmit those diseases to humans if you keep them as pets.

Similarly, according to these laws, animals are not human property. Therefore, keeping an animal away from its natural habitat is a crime. This law especially applies to the animals whose natural habitat is not replicable in captivity.

The owning of these animals by humans is making many animal species endangered in their natural habitat. This captivity increases the risk of disturbance in the ecosystem. Therefore, it is essential to monitor animal ownership laws in various parts of the world.

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License requirement for chinchilla ownership in California:

To keep wild animals in your house, you might need a license from regulatory authorities. The licensing authorities check if you can fulfill the needs of the animals in captivity or not. The chinchillas are cute little rodents, and you do not need any license to keep them in captivity.

The chinchillas are not illegal to keep as pets in California. However, short-tailed chinchillas are now included in the list of endangered species. People kill thousands of wild chinchillas to get their fur.   

Frequently asked questions:

  1. Where can I get a pet chinchilla in California?

There are many places to get exotic pets in California. However, the most trustable people to provide chinchillas for adoption or purchase are chinchilla breeders, chinchilla rescue organizations, and organizational websites.

You can also purchase chinchillas from an exotic pet store. However, make sure the chinchilla is healthy and disease-free before purchasing it from a pet store.  

  • Do the laws allow to keep short-tailed chinchillas as pets in California?

Yes, the laws in California allow both short-tailed and long-tailed chinchillas as pets. However, many organizations are working to the preservation of chinchillas in their wild habitat.

The short-tailed chinchillas are killed for their dense fur. Therefore, various animal conservation organizations enlist short-tailed chinchillas as endangered species.


So, the answer to the question Are chinchillas illegal in California? is good news for chinchilla lovers. Because chinchillas are not illegal pets in California. You can easily purchase or adopt a chinchilla and keep them as pets in your house. These adorable little rodents are a great addition to your family.

Author 2

I am a proud veterinarian from Lahore, Pakistan. A passionate animal lover who pursued her passion for animal care as a career.
My eagerness to learn and my love for animals grew stronger even during my teenage days. Having a lovely pet, a German Shepherd, in my home allowed me to bond with animals in the best way.
This bonding with my pet provided me with a firm foundation to research and preach about the best animal care methods.

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